Vail Valley Voices: Eagle Town Board majority recommends ‘yes’ vote for ERS
Vail, CO, Colorado
As the six Eagle Town Board members who voted in favor of Eagle River Station, we are speaking to you as active participants in making our community a better place.
Between us, we have a total of 44 years of town of Eagle government experience with budgets, community development and the Eagle Area Community Plan. Eagle River Station complies with the community plan. The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-0 to approve Eagle River Station.
We have seen Eagle grow from a community focused on ranching and agriculture to a community focused on family and small-town ideals. Eagle River Station will not change that focus, but will allow the town to continue to grow and help to provide the services and revenue to support our future.
The Eagle River Station site will require RED Development to pay to the town of Eagle over $10 million ($17 million total) in upfront fees at first building permit application, plus $36 million ($66 million total) in public infrastructure improvements, at no cost or liability to the Eagle taxpayer.
The upfront fees (with the exception of $2.2 million to help build a new water treatment plant needed for already approved growth in Eagle) and extra revenue are not dedicated to this project. These monies can be used by the town to enhance our community any way the citizens see fit.
In 2011 when nearly every other community in Eagle County reported significant revenue growth, the town of Eagle experienced the fifth year of declining tax revenue.
Sales tax revenue has decreased by 17 percent since 2007, which has resulted in a 20 percent reduction to the municipal workforce plus other service cuts. The town’s annual capital improvements budget has seen a staggering drop of 93 percent from $7,635,092 in 2007 to $550,554 in 2011.
Currently, the Eagle River Station site is generating a few hundred dollars in property tax. The $2.9 million extra per year in revenue from Eagle River Station represents a 107 percent increase over our current total town sales tax revenue.
Eagle County will receive over $1.5 million a year, ECO Transit over $700,000 a year, and the state of Colorado more than $2 million each year if this project is approved.
The school, fire and ambulance districts will receive impact fees of more than $1.7 million.
By voting yes, more than $60 million of necessary town infrastructure improvements will be completed by the developer. No Eagle taxpayer dollars will be used to subsidize this project.
RED’s track record and commitment to community are unparalleled. As town representatives, we have done our due diligence and found that none of RED’s projects have ever gone into foreclosure, lease rates range from 89 percent to 100 percent.
None of RED’s projects are “dark” or vacant.
Three separate, professional, independent retail feasibility studies indicated that Eagle River Station would be successful.
The last six RED projects used, on average, 85 percent local contractors (within 50 miles). It is time to put people back to work, and Eagle River Station will produce over 800 construction jobs and nearly 2,000 permanent jobs.
Given voter approval, construction could start within one year.
The Town Board spent hundreds of hours and reviewed more than a thousand pages of documents regarding this development.
We urge you to vote yes on May 22.
Roxie Deane, Mikel Kerst, Kraige Kinney, Scott Turnipseed, Scot Webster and Ed Woodland.
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